With a dinner plan that doesn’t necessarily lend itself effortlessly to quick packing of leftovers for school lunches, this week is more about reinvention of ingredients than we’ve done recently. To come up with the lunch menus, I had to look closely at what I’ll have on hand for cooking our dinners, and then think of ways to make those ingredients into great, kid-friendly lunchboxes without too much extra work or expense.

Weekend Prep:

  • When I roast our chickens on Sunday, I’ll set aside some of the extra meat for Tuesday night’s soup, and another container for Monday’s lunchboxes
  • I’ll borrow a few slices of bacon from the package for Monday’s Amatriciana, cook them, and stash them in the fridge for Tuesday morning.

Weeknight Prep:

  • I’ll set aside thermoses during dinner prep on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we can immediately portion out leftovers for lunches.
  • On Thursday night, I’ll make extra couscous at dinnertime so we’re sure to have enough for Friday morning.

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The Lunch Menus:

  • Monday: Garden salads topped with roast chicken
  • Tuesday: BLTs
  • Wednesday: Leftover chicken and lentil soup and corn muffins
  • Thursday: Leftover beef stir fry and rice
  • Friday: Lunchbox grain salads made with couscous (Tossed with whatever meat, cheese, vegetables and dressings I want to use up before the weekend)

The Sides:

  • Roasted chickpeas, nuts and seeds
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Cheese cubes
  • Fruit leathers
  • Fresh fruit